Smooth Like Butter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Re: Official #57 NBA Player Of All Time According To ISH
My vote goes to Artis "A-Train" Gilmore
Other than some random playing tape, looking at his statistics and accolades and a hell of a lot of research and reading, my knowledge of Gilmore is limited. But from what I've seen and heard, he is an all-time great, no doubt. He played in the ABA for his early career, then played in the NBA in '76. Putting up career averages of 22/17/3/3 in the ABA, 17/10/2/2 in the NBA and 18/12/2/2 combined, Gilmore was a dominant player in the 70's and early 80's. He was called The A-Train by fans and peers because he was one of the strongest players to ever play the game. He was well conditioned as well, playing in the NBA and ABA for 17 years. He once played 670 consecutive games. His statline of games played throughout his career:
84, 84, 84, 84, 84, 82, 82, 82, 48, 82, 82, 82, 64, 81, 71, 82, 71. He only had two seasons where he missed a significant amount of games.
Gilmore set the NCAA Divsion I record for most RPG averaged with 22.7 when he was in college, a record that still stands today. He was a shotblocker and excellent defender, averaging a career high 5.0 blocks per game in his rookie year in the ABA. He was a dominant force since day one. He's a 5x All-Defensive team member, and was top 10 in BPG and total blocks in every year of his career except his last three. Gilmore was a great leaper and athletic freak, quite frankly. He was a solid free throw shooter, too, for a big man, shooting 70% for a career average. Artis Gilmore is also top 25 all-time among points scored, top 10 all time in rebounds, blocked shots, games and minutes played. He also has the all-time highest career field-goal shooting percentage in both the NBA and the ABA. He's an 11x NBA All-Star, ABA MVP, ABA Rookie of the Year and ABA All-Star MVP, as well as an ABA Playoffs MVP. By the way, he was the league MVP and ROY in the same year, and he went 68-16 in his rookie year, 24 more than the previous year. He was an instant force in the NBA since day one. In his rookie year, he was 10th in PPG, 1st in RPG and 1st in FG%. His high FG%s always stood out, with him having the highest FG% of all-time with .599%. Gilmore even led the NBA in field goal percentage in 4 consecutive seasons, shooting a career best .670% one year.
Gilmore is a 5x All-NBA Team selection member, all in a row, all 1st Team. He won a ring in '75 with Kentucky in the NBA and captured the playoff MVP. During his ABA career, Gilmore established ABA records for career field goal percentage (0.557), career blocked shots (750), blocked shots in a season (287 in the 1973-74 season), and rebounds in a game (40), and is a member of the ABA All-Time team. He's second all-time in the NBA in total rebounds with 7169, and has been a top 10 RPG leader in the ABA and NBA combined for all the years of his career, except the last three. (Led the ABA in total rebounds for 5 straight seasons). He's been top 10 in the ABA and NBA in total points scored 7 times. Again, he's one of the most efficient players in NBA history. He has the highest FG% in NBA history and the highest FG% in ABA history. Gilmore led the NBA in true shooting percentage for 5 straight years, and has been top 5 in true shooting percentage for every single year of his career from start to end in the NBA and ABA. He's shot over 60% 5 times and he's been top 10 in PPG five times in his ABA and NBA career. In his ABA prime, he put up 18/18/3/3 in one year, and 23/16/2/3 the next year. His career high total points is 2003 and his career high total rebounds is 1491, set in his rookie year.
Even with all that, it's not like Gilmore was playing in an era where he was the only great player. There was Rick Barry, Billy Cunningham, Julius Erving, George Gervin, Connie Hawkins, Spencer Haywood, Dan Issel, Bobby Jones, Moses Malone, David Thompson, just to name a few. Then when he came to the NBA, he had to compete with the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone, Michael Jordan, George Gervin, Julius Erving, Adrian Dantley, Wes Unseld, Tiny Archibald, John Lucas, World B. Free, Eddie Johnson, Michael Ray Richardson, Pete Maravich, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and Bill Walton, just to name a few. The fact that he led/was near the top of the league in rebounds and field goal percentage in that era is amazing. If your'e going to penalize Gilmore for putting up great numbers in the ABA, you might as well penalize Barry, Erving, Malone, as well, because a part of what they did in their career happened in the ABA as well. Gilmore has proven he can do what he did in the ABA in the NBA. His points and rebounds weren't as high as they were in the ABA because of better competition, but he was still a force to be reckoned with, without a doubt.
Gilmore was a very talented player on the court as well, and could score in many ways in the post, whether it was a banker, a baby hook, a finger roll, an up and under, or a dunk, he was a proven scorer down in the post. He was a feared shot blocker, amazing rebounder, great low-post defender, was athletic, and had skill, not just raw power. He was the ultimate prototypcial center. He did everything he was supposed to throughout his career: score, rebound, block and be efficient, and he did them all very well. He teamed up with Dan Issel in the frontcourt to form a 1-2 punch combo, and they lead the Colonels to 2 ABA Finals, winning the championship once. Gilmore was picked first in the NBA dispersal draft, over the likes of Moses Malone, Maurice Lucas and other stars.
'Gilmore and the Bulls erupted in the second half of the season, however, winning 20 of their last 24 games and making the playoffs with a 44-38 record. In a late-season game against the Seattle SuperSonics, Gilmore registered 32 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks. In a game against the 76ers, he had 29 points and 23 rebounds, while holding Philadelphia's three centers to a combined 13 points and 13 rebounds.'
He was traded to the Spurs later to join George Gervin, and became an NBA All-Star one last time. Gilmore was known to be one of the best and toughest at guarding Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, a player with a reasonable argument for being the greatest of all-time. Artis Gilmore is only one of 24 players to score over 20,000 points in his professional career. Gilmore's career NBA statline and ABA/NBA accolades:
- 17.1 PPG, 15, 579 NBA points, 1,747 blocks, 470 steals, 2.0 APG, 1,777 assists, 10.1 RPG, 9,161 rebounds, .713 FT%, .599 FG%, 909 games played.
- 11x NBA All-Star, ABA MVP and ROY, ABA All-Star MVP, ABA Playoffs MVP, 5x All-ABA First Team, 6x All-ABA/NBA Defensive Team combined.